Steve Martin Announces 11-Member Wrestling Recruiting Class

April 29, 2005
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

April 29, 2005

NORFOLK, VA -Old Dominion wrestling head coach Steve Martin has announced the signing of 11 incoming freshmen for the 2005-06 season, highlighted by six state champions with a combined 16 titles between them.  Six of the 11 are All-Americans.  With an early signing class that ranked #12, the Monarchs are moving in the right direction.


Leading the field are Braxdon Scaletta and Chris Brown.  Scaletta, ranked sixth in the nation at 130 pounds by Wrestling USA Magazine and eighth by InterMat, is a two-time Division III Ohio state champion at Cuyahoga Heights High School.  Recently, Scaletta placed sixth at the NHSCA Senior Nationals, the top high school event for senior high school wrestlers.  Scaletta is a projected 133-pounder.


Brown, who signed in the fall, won his second state championship for Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, and is ranked sixth at 152 pounds by InterMat and eighth by Wrestling USA.  A four-time high school state place-winner and two-time freestyle All-American, Brown was the only wrestler in the country this season to win both the Ironman and Beat of the East wrestling tournaments.  He was eighth at High School Nationals and projects at 157.


"We're very excited about the 11 student athletes that we've brought on board," Head Coach Steve Martin said.  "They come from seven different states and 10 of the 11 are nationally ranked.  As a group, their credentials are outstanding--there are two four-time finalists, three three-time state champions, two two-time state champions and four additional state placewinners."


Also joining the Monarchs next season will be a pair of three-time state champions, Kaylen Baxter and Bryan LaShomb.  Baxter will likely be the first wrestler to wear blue and silver from the state of Alaska, where he made four finals appearances at Fairbanks' West Valley High School.  He's ranked 12th by InterMat and 22nd by Wrestling USA Magazine.  Baxter is a two-time Greco-Roman All-American and projects at 149 pounds.


LaShomb signed in the fall and was a three-time North Carolina state champion at Currituck and was a Virginia AAA state runner-up at Great Bridge this past season.  A thee-time freestyle All-American, LaShomb is ranked 12th in the nation by InterMat.


Fall signees Jeff Becker of Slippery Rock, PA and Ben Fiacco of Harrison High in Kennessaw, GA, each matched previous state placement after signing with Old Dominion.  Becker finished third at the PIAA AA state tournament at 145 pounds, while Fiacco won his third Georgia state title.


Two-time Maryland state champion Cam Watkins of Magruder also signed and projects at 141 pounds.  Watkins is ranked 18th overall by InterMat and 20th by Wrestling USA Magazine.


Coach Martin also bolstered their middle and upper weights, adding David Mendoza, a projected 184-pounder that placed third at the PIAA state tourament at 189 pounds for Wyomissing, PA.  Joining Mendoza will be Colonial Forge's Matt Pellar, a two-time Group AAA state place-winner at 215 pounds.  Pellar placed at both the Powerade and the Ironman and was a state runner-up his senior year.  Columbia, NY senior Kevin Harrington was a section champion and state quarterfinalist.


"One of the goals we wanted to accomplish was to draw athletes to Old Dominion from wrestling-rich states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," Martin said.  "We accomplished that in year one."


One of those Ohio wrestlers is from one of the nation's top wrestling programs.  Ohio state runner-up Bryan Koz will help solidify the middle weights.  Coming from St. Edward, Ohio's top wrestling program, Koz is ranked 26th by Wrestling USA.  Koz's cousin Matt is the starting 197-pounder at the University of Minnesota.


"Several of these recruits will be candidates for NCAA titles and All-American honors," Martin said.  "The common theme with these kids is that they are all solid in the classroom, hard-nosed, mentally tough and aggressive competitors and they fit our system very well.  They all hate to lose.  We can also develop these wrestlers further, so their individual goals will be accomplished.


"All our recruits are also very talented and accomplished in freestyle wrestling on the national level and have aspirations to eventually be on the US Wrestling national team in the future," Martin said.


"We feel this recruiting class is the first step in helping make Old Dominion a national powerhouse," Coach Martin said.


2005-06 Recruiting Class Breakdown:


Braxdon Scaletta:            (Cuyahoga Heights HS, Ohio)            133 lbs

                                    Career Record:  176-12

                                    4X State Place Winner

                                    2005 OHSAA State Champion

                                    2004 OHSAA State Champion

                                    2003 OHSAA State Runner-up

                                    2002 OHSAA 3rd Place

                                    High School All-American

                                    6th at Senior HS Nationals

                                    Ranked 9th in Intermat Senior Rankings

                                    Ranked 6th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Kaylen Baxter:            (West Valley HS, Alaska)                        149 lbs

                                    Career Record:  136-7

                                    3X ASAA 4A State Champion

                                    2005 State Champion

                                    2004 State Champion

                                    2003 State Runner-up

                                    2002 State Champion

                                    2X USA Wrestling Cadet Greco-Roman All-Americna

                                    Ranked 12th in Intermat Senior Rankings

                                    Ranked 22nd in Wrestling USA Rankings


Cam Watkins:            (Magruder HS, Maryland)                    141 lbs

                                    Career Record:  194-16

                                    MPSSAA 3A/4A State Champion 2005

                                    2004 Private School State Champion

                                    3X Private School State Championship Finalist

                                    3rd Place in 2004 HS National Preps

                                    2nd Place in 2003 HS National Preps

                                    3rd Place in 2002 HS National Preps

                                    4X All-Metro Team Candidate

                                    4X Freestyle/Greco-Roman Junior State Champion

                                    2005 All State Academic Team

                                    Ranked 18th in Intermat Overall Rankings

                                    Ranked 20th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Bryan Koz:                 (St. Edward HS, Ohio)               165 lbs

                                    Career Record:  69-15

                                    2005 OHSAA Division I State Finalist

                                    2005 Ohio Sectional Champion

                                    2005 Ohio District Champion

                                    33 Pins in senior year

                                    Ranked 26th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Kevin Harrington:            (Columbia HS, New York)               184/197 lbs

                                    Career Record:  85-23

                                    New York Class A State Champion 2005

                                    NY Section 2 Champion 2005

                                    NY Section 2 Runner-up 2004

                                    Member of Cadet/Junior National Teams 2002-2004


Matt Pellar:                (Colonial Forge HS, Virginia)                       197 lbs

                                    2005 VHSL State Championship Runner-up

                                    3rd in 2004 VHSL State Championships

                                    3rd Place in Ironman Tournament 2005

                                    4th Place in Powerade Tournament 2005

                                    Ranked 25th in Wrestling USA Rankings


David Mendoza:            (Wyomissing HS, Pennsylvania)                184 lbs

                                    Career Record:  117-34

                                    3rd Place in 2005 PIAA State Championships

                                    7th Place in 2004 PIAA State Championships

                                    7th Place in 2004 Beast of the East Tournament

                                    3X All-County Team

                                    Ranked 29th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Bryan LaShomb:            (Great Bridge HS, Virginia)                                   125 lbs

                                    Career Record:  151-21

                                    3X North Carolina State Champion

                                    Virginia AAA State Runner-up

                                    FILA Cadet Freestyle National Place-winner 2003

                                    FILA Cadet Freestyle National Champion 2004

                                    Member of USA Cadet Freestyle National Team

                                    USAW Cadet Freestyle Nationals 3rd 2003

                                    USAW Junior Freestyle Nationals 5th 2004

                                    5th Place at Beast of East Tournament 2004

                                    4th Place at Ironman Tournament 2004

                                    Ranked 12th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Jeff Becker:               (Slippery Rock HS, Pennsylvania)                149 lbs

                                    3X PIAA State Place-winner (2nd in 2003, 3rd in 2004, 3rd in 2005)

                                    USAW Cadet Freestyle National Finalist 2002

                                    USAW 2X Cadet Freestyle National Place-winner

                                    3X Northeast Regional Champion

                                    Ranked 27th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Chris Brown:              (Great Bridge HS, Virginia)                                   157 lbs

                                    Career Record:  176-18

                                    Senior Record:  50-2

                                    VHSL AAA 4X State Place-winner

                                    VHSL AAA State Champion 2005

                                    VHSL AAA State Champion 2004

                                    NWCA National High School Senior Open Champion 2003

                                    USAW Cadet Freestyle Nationals 5th 2003

                                    FILA Cadet Freestyle National Champion 2004

                                    2004 Beast of the East Tournament Champion

                                    2004 Ironman Tournament Champion

                                    Ranked 8th in Wrestling USA Rankings


Ben Fiacco:                (Harrison HS, Georgia)                                   165 lbs

                                    Career Record:  165-5

                                    3X 5A Georgia State Champion (2003, 2004, 2005)

                                    3rd Place in Georgia State Championships 2002

                                    4X Region Champion

                                    USAW Cadet Freestyle National Finalist 2003

                                    USAW Cadet Folkstyle National Champion 2003

                                    FILA Cadet Freestyle All-American 2004

                                    Ranked 19th in Wrestling USA Rankings



Of Note:

2 4X Finalists:                           Bryan LaShomb, Kaylen Baxter

3 3X State Champions:             Bryan LaShomb, Kaylen Baxter, Ben Fiacco

3 2X State Champions:             Braxdon Scaletta, Chris Brown, Cam Watkins


A total of 16 state championships

10 of the 11 signees are nationally ranked by Wrestling USA or InterMat.


State Distribution:

Virginia:            3

Pennsylvania:    2

Ohio                 2

Maryland          1

Alaska              1

New York        1

Georgia            1